Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne - This essay describes various signs of symbolism such as the big, oak door, the "A" on the minister's heart, and the meteor.

Essay by chevyguyHigh School, 11th gradeA, January 2003

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The Scarlet Letter

In the story, The Scarlet Letter, the involvement of supernatural events, spiritual and physical, gives the story a touch of a fantasy and shows the reader what is in the mind of the characters. Many times, mystical happenings take place that give the tale suspense and intensity. The author, I think, takes the mental state of the characters, incorporates it into the story, and may add a little exaggeration. And the scenes depend on the characters that are involved. From a pretty, little forest-child to a dark prison door, the atmosphere molds itself around the mindset of the focused character.

The first chapter describes forms to fit the position of Hester Prynne as she displays her A in front of the whole town. The big, old, oak door is described and as it opens, a black shadow appears and the prison guard throws Hester out into view of the hundreds of eyes.

The town stares as their eyes lock on the scarlet letter. Mutters and murmurs are heard from the unforgiving crowd. All eyes are on Hester, the A, and her new child. Hester instantly grasps her young child because the crowd is making her nervous. Her instincts automatically tell her to protect her child. Everyone, even the children, stopped what he or she was doing to torture Hester Prynne with their glares. The scene was not a happy one because of the attitude of the main character. If it were from the side of a child, it would be much more fun-filled and happy because it was a half day of school. But since Hester was being shown to the crowds, it was not a happy scene.

In the twelfth chapter of the story, entitled The Minister's Vigil, a ghastly act occurs that, the minister...